Welcome to Costa Rica! You will meet your Program Leaders in San José, the capital of Costa Rica .
Perfect for the ultimate adventurer! Travel across seven different provinces in Costa Rica, packing in every adrenaline-pumping activity along the way. Sleep in a cave behind a waterfall and rappel 150 feet down to the jungle below. Then head out to the beach where you will kayak, sail, snorkel, and learn to surf! The adventure doesn’t stop here, go mountain biking before heading out on a 3-day rafting trip down the Pacuare river. Experience all the activities Costa Rica has to offer on this two-week adventure.
Depart the U.S. en route to San José, Costa Rica. Upon your arrival, Rustic Pathways Staff will greet you at the airport.
Enjoy your first glimpses of this spectacular country. From its rainforests to its volcanic peaks to its two coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful nations in Central America. Home to some of the most biodiverse swaths of land and sea on the planet, Costa Rica is famed for its natural environment – and it’s commitment to that environment! Costa Ricans – or Ticos, as they’re called here – are intensely proud and protective of their lands, and have put their country on the map as the world leader in eco-tourism and environmental protection.
In addition to its stunning flora and fauna, Costa Rica is also world-renowned for its adventure activities, many of which you’ll be sampling in the days to come!
Head to the hostel rented out by Rustic Pathways. Spend the first night meeting new friends and mingling about with students preparing for our many enriching programs. Good luck and enjoy your stay in beautiful Costa Rica!
Wake up for an early breakfast before heading by bus toward the beach town of Dominical, where you will get your first taste of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and spend the evening making new friends and preparing your day pack for tomorrow’s hike.
Wake up bright and early and prepare for this adrenaline-filled day in the south of Costa Rica. After a hearty local-style breakfast, get geared up to head toward the jungle where you will spend the day hiking through beautiful trails and canyons to a series of impressive waterfalls.
Next, professional guides will instruct you on the sport of rappelling, instructing you on important safety measures and preparing you to rappel down the side of the falls. After this mission is accomplished, spend the afternoon lazing by the natural pools and marveling at the height and magnitude of the waterfalls that you have mastered.
The morning begins with a three-hour hike through the lush rainforest rainforest. Once you reach the top, take a plunge off a small waterfall into a pool below where you can cool down and enjoy the surrounding environment.
After a relaxing swim, hike back down part of the trail to a different waterfall. Harness up and rappel 100 feet off the side of the falls to reach your new home for the evening.** Spend the night in a fully equipped cave hidden behind the waterfall. It is rustic, but there are beds, bathrooms, and a kitchen. After dinner you may build a small campfire where you can play music, tell stories and wind down after an exciting day.
**For those who do not wish to rappel, a Rustic Pathways Staff member can walk you down a separate trail that leads to the cave.
Hike out of the Diamante waterfall (cave) to start making our way back to Central Pacific for some more adventures. Today, we will drive to the famous Jaco Beach for a day of relaxation, souvenir shoppings and beach time. You will have time to rest your sore muscles from hiking and enjoy a beautiful sunset in Central Pacific.
Get ready for a fun day of traveling as you venture north, passing beaches and small villages on your way to Playa Avellanas on the Nicoya Peninsula. After a bus ride filled with beautiful scenery and fun games, arrive by nightfall at Playa Avellanas where you will spend the next few nights. Cook a meal together and watch the stars near the beach!
Surfs up! Enjoy an early morning breakfast and then it’s off to the ocean. Spend a portion of the day learning how to surf from professional surf instructors. Playa Avellanas has been noted as being one of the best places for surfing in all of Costa Rica with its consistent, high quality waves. After lunch, head to a beach up north for an afternoon sailing and snorkeling trip through the waters of the Nicoya Peninsula. Relish the luxury of the day while watching the sun create a masterpiece before your eyes as it sets on the horizon. Return to the mainland for another wonderful night’s sleep.
This morning will be spent splashing in the waves on the beautiful Avellanas beach, relaxing in a hammock, or wandering through the local markets of the nearby beach town of Tamarindo. For your last night here, you and your traveling companions will break into teams and cook up a big feast. Enjoy an evening with your new best friends, eating great food and listening to music under the stars.
Enjoy a relaxing morning and a light breakfast in the sunshine at Playa Avellanas. Hit the beach quick to soak up a few last rays of sun before heading out to the town of La Fortuna, home of the famous Arenal Volcano.
The adventure continues today. Wake up for a hike that will lead you through the rainforest with views of a spectacular waterfall, cooling swimming pools, and unique rock formations along the way. In the afternoon, go to zip-lining adventure that will take you soaring above the rainforest canopy. Then relax all those hard-worked muscles at the Eco Termales Hot Springs. These naturally hot pools provide a soothing end to a wonderful day.
Wake up early to catch your bus to Turrialba valley where you will continue the adventure hiking to Aquiares waterfall.
Wake up early to start your day mountain biking in the Turrialba Valley. In the afternoon visit Turrialba town for souvenir shopping.
Rise with the sun and head out to the world class Pacuare River for a three-day river rafting adventure. Nights will be spent in a river lodge (first night) and in tents (second night) placed on platforms in the rainforest near the soothing sounds of the river. Upon returning to San José, enjoy a group dinner and a final night’s sleep.
Return home on an early flight or start another Rustic Pathways adventure!
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.
The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.
“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.
For more information, email email@example.com
On Tuesday afternoon students will arrive and stay that night in Alajuela in a base hotel. Wednesday morning students will meet with their new group and guides at the same hotel where they stayed and go off on their new program.
Students from the United States and Canada will be automatically issued a 90 day tourist visa upon entry into Costa Rica.
For students traveling on Passports issued in countries other than the United States and Canada, we recommend you contact the Costa Rican embassy in your home country for additional visa details.
Yes. All flights between Costa Rica and the USA will have a flight leader starting in both Newark and Houston. Return flights to the USA will also have a flight leader as far as Newark and Houston. Flights between Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic are NOT escorted by a Rustic Pathways staff member.
Direct flight from Newark to San Jose takes approximately 5.5 hours.
Direct flight from Houston to San Jose takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours.
It does include international travel time. Fortunately, Costa Rica is located very close to United States so students will arrive the same day they depart the US.
During the Costa Rica Adventurer, students will pass through all 7 of Costa Rica’s provinces including San Jose, Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago, Limon, Guanacaste and Puntarenas provinces.
Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.
Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 students. Additionally, each program maintains at least 2 primary program leaders, one male and one female.
Rustic Pathways uses sterilization techniques to ensure that all drinking water for students is potable and safe to drink. We ask students to bring reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic usage.
Students are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Students will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If students are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken.
Outlets in Costa Rica are 110 V, with standard US two prong plugs (or three prong if grounded). Students from Europe will need an adapter. (Adapters are very difficult to find in Costa Rica. Don’t forget yours at home!)
Students will visit a variety of different locations but most of the time, students should be prepared for hot, humid weather in the 80’s and 90’s during the day with a daily afternoon rain shower.
Students will be staying in hotels during their travels. The hotels are carefully chosen accordingly and are clean, comfortable and safe. Students will also have one night in a fully equipped cave at the base of a waterfall and several nights at base camps along the river during their rafting trip.
Students will be eating at local restaurants as they travel throughout Costa Rica. The food will vary between traditional Costa Rican food and occasional American and international selections
All the places where we stay have bathroom facilities with running water, American style toilets and showers.
Students will have limited access to internet during their program when they visit towns with internet cafes. They will be able to purchase international phone cards in Costa Rica from the guides or at local convenience stores which can be used to call home from the public phones.
It is important to note that they will also be spending time in some more remote areas, where there will not be public phone or internet access. All of our guides have cell phones for emergency purposes.
Students should pack reasonably for this program. Laundry may be available once a week and the cost is $10-$15 depending on the amount of clothes.
There are typically more girls than boys however the exact numbers vary from week to week.
You can not flush the toilet paper.
Students will be traveling through a variety of different locations. Bus rides will vary between a one hour drive to a 5 hour drive.
Rustic Pathways hires private buses/vans/4×4 SUV to transport our students to different program locations.
We are going to have access to healthcare 30 minutes away in most of the places, the only time that is going to be farther is when we are doing rafting in the Pacuare River that it would take us 3 hours approximately but we would have helicopter support in case of an emergency. We are not in an area where the malaria is present. We do a lot of adventure activities but we frequently check our vendors to make sure that they follow our safety protocols.
Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the HX Global and Centers for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.
HX Global is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to HX Global benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.
As a member you will have access to HX Global’s extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travelers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program. For more information please visit our HX Global webpage.
There is going to be a clinic 30 minutes away from most of the places that we visit, the only time that is going to be farther is when we are doing Rafting in the Pacuare River that it would take us 3 hours approximately, if it is an emergency we will have helicopter support.
Rustic Pathways can cater to most dietary needs on this program. There will be ample access to fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, and grains for those who are vegetarian. Vegan diets can be accommodated, but with a little more foresight and planning as this is not a diet commonly encountered in Costa Rica. Please know that while we are happy to accommodate alternative diets, many of the special diets common in the United States are not common in other parts of the world and travelers must be patient and understanding in having these needs be met. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding special diets or allergies.
Yes, there are bugs. It isn’t unbearable, but we do require students to wear bug spray, preferably containing DEET, and to bring light layers to cover up during dawn and dusk.
Personal gifts, internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.
There are not additional costs on this program.
The recommended allowance is $350.
Rash guard for surfing.
Students will visit local Spanish speaking communities; however the focus of the program is adventure in incredibly beautiful locations. The possibility of practicing conversational Spanish will exist during these trip activities. Local children are especially eager to speak Spanish with Rustic Pathways students.
No, all our guides are bilingual so they can help you if you need something
The Costa Rica Adventurer program is appropriate for students of most physical activity levels. Students should be prepared for hikes and adventure activities that may require moderate physical activity.
Yes, you can.
Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:
Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.
A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.
A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.
(travel sized in ziplock bags)
Welcome to Costa Rica! You will meet your Program Leaders in San José, the capital of Costa Rica .
Swim in the Pacific Ocean and enjoy the sunset in Marino Ballena National Park.
Enjoy the Nauyaca waterfall in an awesome rappel.
A cave is going to be your house for one night in this incredible experience.
This beautiful beach of the North Pacific is the perfect place to test your surfing skills.
Feel the adrenaline while you zip line though the rainforest and relax in the hot springs in the evening.
Visit Finca Araciari, our base in Turrialba. Experience Costa Rican culture and walk around a traditional town.
Raft the white waters of one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, The Pacuare.
Here is where we finish our rafting trip, grab lunch and get ready for a road trip through one of the most beautiful national parks of the country on your way back to San José.